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Open AccessArticle

Unboxed: US Young Adult Tobacco Users’ Responses to a New Heated Tobacco Product

1
Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA
2
Department of Community and Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA
3
Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA
4
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Institute for Health & Aging, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to the work.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 8108; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218108
Received: 5 September 2020 / Revised: 21 October 2020 / Accepted: 22 October 2020 / Published: 3 November 2020
The heated tobacco product (HTP) IQOS was authorized for sale in the US in 2019. We investigated how young adults with experience using multiple tobacco products reacted to, perceived, and developed interest in IQOS, informing policies that might prevent HTPs from becoming ubiquitous. We used a novel qualitative method in which 33 young adult tobacco users in California (fall 2019) “unboxed” an IQOS device, tobacco sticks, and marketing materials and narrated their impressions and opinions. We conducted content and thematic analyses of participants’ reactions, sensory experiences, and interest. Multiple attributes influenced appeal for participants, including sleek electronic design, novel technology, perceived harmfulness, complexity, and high cost. The “no smoke” claim and heating technology suggested that smoking IQOS was safer than smoking cigarettes. Public health programs should closely monitor HTP marketing and uptake, particularly as “reduced exposure” claims were authorized in July 2020. Evidence-based regulations (e.g., requiring plain packaging for tobacco sticks), actions addressing IQOS’ unique attributes (e.g., regulating device packaging to reduce high-tech appeal), and public education might help to counter the appeal generated by potentially misleading IQOS marketing tactics. View Full-Text
Keywords: heat-not-burn; heated tobacco product; marketing; vaping; e-cigarettes heat-not-burn; heated tobacco product; marketing; vaping; e-cigarettes
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kim, M.; Watkins, S.L.; Koester, K.A.; Mock, J.; Kim, H.C.; Olson, S.; Harvanko, A.M.; Ling, P.M. Unboxed: US Young Adult Tobacco Users’ Responses to a New Heated Tobacco Product. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 8108. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218108

AMA Style

Kim M, Watkins SL, Koester KA, Mock J, Kim HC, Olson S, Harvanko AM, Ling PM. Unboxed: US Young Adult Tobacco Users’ Responses to a New Heated Tobacco Product. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(21):8108. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218108

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kim, Minji; Watkins, Shannon L.; Koester, Kimberly A.; Mock, Jeremiah; Kim, Hyunjin C.; Olson, Sarah; Harvanko, Arit M.; Ling, Pamela M. 2020. "Unboxed: US Young Adult Tobacco Users’ Responses to a New Heated Tobacco Product" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 17, no. 21: 8108. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218108

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